Making your way to Antarctica will provide a truly memorable experience. The jagged empty beauty of a mostly uncharted continent that is certain to grab your attention. Apart from the surreal landscapes, the Antarctica wildlife itself is definitely worth a visit for animal lovers.
More about Antarctica
The southernmost continent on earth, Antarctica is known for having driest, windiest, and coldest climate. It sits over the South Pole. The river Onyx flows through the continent which is capped by the amazing and eye-catching West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Its breathtaking scenery is only broken by a small handful of scientific bases. Antarctica also has the highest average elevation in the world.
The Antarctica Wildlife
Adapting the dryness, very low temperature and high exposure for extremophiles is quite necessary for the Antarctica wildlife. So, the ecological diversity is much less than anywhere else on earth. Most of it can be found in the oceans. Terrestrial life is concentrated only along the coastal area.
- The southern elephant seal is largest among the few animals in Antarctica. The massive Antarctic Seals can weigh anywhere from 150 kg to 4000 kg.
- The wilder shores of Subantarctic and Peninsula islands are a nesting ground for many migratory birds. Among these are 17 different sub-species of penguin.
- The Southern Ocean is also home to many fish. Numerous marine mammals, including whales, can be seen here. Watch out for the majestic humpbacked whales.
Animals not found in Antarctica
Remember, there are NO polar bears in Antarctica; they live at the North Pole.
Do’s and Don’ts
Animal sightseeing is an adventure in itself which can be enjoyed sans crowds of people in Antarctica. But, be careful and always keep in mind the following tips
- Look, but DON’T touch the wildlife: Like most other wildlife, the Antarctica wildlife is quite happy without human interference. Don’t try to perturb or feed of animals for any reason. This is the thumb rule which is applicable for land and water life.
- DON’T litter: It is a bad habit in most places, but here, it is considered a very serious matter. Antarctica has a very fragile environment, and waste disposal facilities are severely limited.
- DO be careful: Don’t try to explore Antarctica without proper clothing. Keep in mind the harsh weather conditions of the place. The cold can be a major health hazard.
- DC cover up: It’s not safe to move around Antarctica without covering up. Make sure that you are never without socks. Cover your ankles, hands, face, and neck properly while traveling, and always use sunscreen and wear sunglasses
- DON’T take the kids: Antarctica is a beautiful and adventurous place, but very risky. The harsh climate, sea storms and lack of medical care make accidents a very real possibility in such extreme conditions. Taking the children on an Antarctica tour is not advisable.
Best time to visit
The best time to travel to Antarctica is during the late summers of the southern hemisphere – from January to March. In January, the average temperature is 1°C and a large number of penguins and other hatching wildlife can be seen at this time. February to March is also great for whale spotting.
How to get to Antarctica
Antarctica is an exceptionally far-flung and it takes a long time to get there. The the most common way to travel to Antarctica is on designated cruise ships that take anywhere between 10 days and three weeks. You can also travel there by plane, as there are 28 airport landings on the continent. Most of the travellers visit Antarctica through South America as it is a quick and accessible route.
Packing for your Antarctic voyage
- For a comfortable voyage to Antarctica, don’t forget to pack many layers as they provide insulation.
- Waterproof as well as windproof wear are a must.
- Sun reflects the snow, so in order to have adequate protection from the same, carry sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Don’t travel without a basic survival kit. You may suffer from any number of unforeseen issues, so keep it with you at all times.